Tip-In: Clinched. Raptors Set to Return to Playoffs Thanks to Win Over Celtics

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Spo

It's taken nearly six seasons, but the Toronto Raptors are finally heading back to the NBA playoffs.

Pop some of that champagne Raptors fans.

You deserve it.

The Colangelo era started off ok, but went south pretty fast and that bubbly might help erase memories of Rudy Gay and Jermaine O'Neal trades, and Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Kapono signings.

Jarrett Jack-Hedo-Jose Calderon line-up decisions?

Take another swig.

Andrea Bargnani?

Ok, finish that bottle sir or ma'am.

The fact is, we Raptors' supporters have had to put up with some pretty putrid basketball over the past half decade. Going back to Toronto's last playoff appearance in the 2007-08 season, the Raps, prior to this season, have sported a beautiful .384 win percentage.

Teams with worse winning percentage over that time period?

The Charlotte Bobcats

The Sacramento Kings

The Minnesota Timberwolves

And the Washington Wizards.

The Raptors haven't just missed the playoffs the past five seasons.  They've been consistently amongst the dregs of the league.

That's why despite a shaky win last night over the Boston Celtics, it's hard not to wake up this morning feeling pretty good about the team.  Yes, everything is relative but perhaps this playoff birth is the start of a great era in Raptors' basketball, the Masai Ujiri era.

We're at least allowed that hope are we not?  Ever the supporters, I'm not sure Raptors fans, despite their ardent fervor for the team, have been this hopeful in quite some time.  And it's not the "I hope we land Andrew Wiggins" type hope either, one born out of desperation.

This one is born out of witnessing some modicum of success this season as with a win percentage of .569, the club is neck-and-neck with its best ever mark, and could very well pass it considering the team's final schedule of matches. Add in the relative ineptitude of many of their potential playoff opponents and...

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

As last night's game showed, there's plenty of work to be done as the past six games have showcased a club that's either having a tough time getting up for matches against the NBA's lesser foes, or has some serious work to do at the defensive end of the court.  The Raptors have dropped in various team defensive metrics and simply aren't doing a good enough job keeping opposing offences at bay.  Last night, particularly in the fourth quarter, the Celtics got wherever they wanted on the court and would have won the game had it not been for some DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry heroics...and a vintage Amir Johnson tip-in.

They'll get one more crack at shoring things up tomorrow versus the Orlando Magic and then things get very interesting as the Dinos face off against the Heat, Rockets and Pacers in the span of about five days.

It's after those matches that we should really get a good read on how this club looks heading into the playoffs.

And maybe it's after those matches that fans will have good reason to worry about the team's playoff prospects.

But for now, let's all sit back and soak this in a bit.

As Amir Johnson aptly shouted post-game, on his way back to the locker room, "We've Made It."

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